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Army Commander highlights value of SLA’s overseas duties which bring pride and honour to SL



In his address to SLAMC leaving for South Sudan on Peace-Keeping Mission

South Sudan bound 7th Army Contingent salutes Army Chief at SLAMC Regimental HQ

The 7th contingent of the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps (SLAMC), bound for United Nations Peace-Keeping Mission in South Sudan’s Level-2 Hospital (UNMISS), on the eve of their departure, presented a ceremonial salute to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Chief of Defence Staff, Commander of the Army and Head, National Operations Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) at the SLAMC Regimental Headquarters at Werahera.

The Army Commander was welcomed by Brigadier Upul Weerakoon, Centre Commandant at the SLAMC Regimental HQ, and was invited to review the Guard Turnout presented by SLAMC troops.

After the chief guest was welcomed by Brigadier Krishantha Fernando, Colonel Commandant of the SLAMC and Director-General of the Army Health Services, he was invited to the parade ground, where the parade commander invited him to review the Guard of Honour accorded on his behalf.

Symbolic of the importance of the day’s event, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva formally handed over the National flag, Army flag, United Nations flag and the Sri Lanka Army Medical Corps flag to the contingent.

The 6th Sri Lankan contingent already serving the UN assignment in South Sudan is expected to return home shortly after completing their tenure of service in accordance with the provisions of the UN.

The South Sudan bound 7th contingent, commanded by Colonel Roshan Jayamanna, consists of four Medical Specialists, four Medical Officers and a Dentist, a Commanding Officer, seven Administrative Officers, 41 SLAMC Other Ranks including Ward-In-charge, nurses, critical care nurses (gynecological), operation theatre technician, Physiotherapist (DPM), radiographer, X-ray technician, SMO/MPH (ECG), dental assistant, dental technician, medical storeman, pharmacist, pharmacy technician, lab technician, lab technologists, CSM, CQMS, hygiene assistant, admin. clerk, cooks, ambulance drivers, sanitary duty man, mortuary attendant and nine Other Ranks from the Sri Lanka Signal Corps, Corps of Engineer Service and the Sri Lanka Army Service Corps.

Extending his best wishes, the Army Chief, after the ceremonial parade, addressed the contingent and highlighted the value of their overseas duties, bringing pride and honour to the country. He also reminded them of the importance of maintaining the highest level of discipline, while serving and their commitment to the role and tasks in South Sudan.

Senior Officers including Major-General Duminda Sirinaga, Deputy Chief of Staff, Principal Staff Officers, Directors, Center Commandant of SLAMC, Senior Officer, Officers and Other Ranks were present.

The UNMISS, headed by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, has deployed thousands of blue helmets, comprising military personnel, Policemen and Civil Staffers in strife-torn South Sudan with the objective of restoring peace in the country.

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Cabraal: Prez appoints members to Port City Economic Commission



By Shyam Nuwan Ganewatta

The President of the country would always appoint members to the Colombo Port City Economic Commission, entrusted with running of that city under the proposed CPCEC Bill, State Minister of Money & Capital Market and State Enterprise Reforms, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, yesterday, told the media, in Colombo.

State Minister Cabraal said that most critics of the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill had not even read it.

“Sri Lankans don’t need to obtain a visa to enter the Port City as some claim. The Port City will be administered by the Colombo Port City Economic Commission and the Bill we have presented details how the area will be governed,” Cabraal said responding to a question posed by a journalist.

The State Minister said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had asked him to counter the misinformation and fake news that was being spread about the Bill. Once people have read and understood the Bill, most who criticise it would have to change their tune, the Minister said.


Journalists also questioned the State Minister on the allegations levelled by MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakse. The State Minister said that Rajapakse had not even asked a question about the Bill during the Parliamentary Group meetings.

“As I said earlier, the Port City will be administered by Colombo Port City Economic Commission. All members are appointed by the President. The Chairman of the Commission too is appointed by the President. The President can get rid of them anytime he wants,” Cabraal said.

The State Minister added that no one would be allowed to withdraw money or assets from Sri Lanka and invest in the Port City. “This is a special economic zone. We need to attract foreign direct investments. We need to have ease of doing business in this zone and we have to make it an important financial hub in the region.”

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Two hotels to be built obstructing elephant corridor in Sinharaja – MONLAR



Forest land being cleared for the construction of a hotel

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Bowitiyatenna elephant corridor, used by elephants in Sinharaja to travel to Dellawa – Walankanda forest had been obstructed by two businessmen by clearing a section of the forest to build hotels, Sajeeewa Chamikara of the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform (MONLAR) said.

“One hotel is being constructed in the Dolekanda Grama Niladari area after clearing seven acres of forest land. The Kalawana Divisional Secretariat has approved the construction of the hotel ignoring environmental regulations. Right now, forests are being cleared, land is being prepared and buildings are being constructed using heavy equipment.”

Another hotel was being built at the Bowitiyatenna Elephant Corridor, situated in Godakawela Divisional Secretariat area by a businessman from Godakawela. He has cleared around eight acres of forest land, the environmentalist said.

The two hotels were obstructing the elephant corridors used by the remaining two elephants in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Now, the the people of Rambuka, Thanawela, Ellagama, Handiyekade, Kajugaswatte, Pothupitiya, Kopikella and Cypresswatte would have the elephans marauding their villages, the environmentalist said, adding that the residents of those villages would lose property and lives due to the hotels being constructed by obstructing the elephant corridors.

“Most of the forest areas surrounding the Sinharaja are to be annexed to the Forest Reserve because they are an important part of the forest network. These unscrupulous businessmen and politicians supporting them are attempting to carve out as much land as possible before these areas receive protected status. They are also doing their best to delay the declaration of these lands as protected areas.”

Chamikara said that the Central Environmental Authority (CEA) had the power to take action against those who carried out such illegal activities.

According to Section 23 (a.) (a.) of the National Environmental Act, when a project is carried out without environmental clearance, the CEA can produce such people before a magistrate’s court. If found guilty, a person can be fined up to Rs. 15,000 or imprisoned up to two years or subjected to both.

Chamikara said: “According to Article 27(14) of Chapter VI of the Sri Lankan constitution the state shall protect, preserve and improve the environment for the benefit of the community.” However, the CEA seems to have no interest in taking action against those who are building these hotels illegally. This is CEA’s attitude to almost all major environmental destruction that seems to be taking place these days.

“The government is silent when the Sinharaja forest is degraded and elephant corridors are closed by businessmen. The right to land seems to be a right reserved only for businessmen. We have the right to oppose these under article 28. (f) of the Constitution which states that we have a fundamental duty ‘to protect nature and conserve its riches.’ Article 28. (e) states that we also have a fundamental duty ‘to respect the rights and freedoms of others.’ Thus, we, the citizens have the right to oppose the illegal use of natural resources by powerful businessmen. If we do not oppose these moves as citizens, powerful businessmen will take over all our natural assets like they are doing at Sinharaja.”

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RDHS predicts Coronavirus spike in Jaffna over the weekend



By Dinasena Ratugamage

There might be a spike in COVID-19 cases in Jaffna this weekend, A.

Kethiswaran, Regional Director Health Services told the media yesterday. Dr. Kethiswaran made the prediction after 26 new cases were detected in Jaffna.

A large number of COVID-19 cases had been reported from Jaffna in the past few weeks. Thus, the people should adhere to health guidelines. If people did not follow the guidelines, there would be a spike in cases and then some places would have to be locked down, he said.

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